Leucoxene is a fine, granular alteration product of titanium minerals. Leucoxene is formed through extensive weathering of ilmenite which removes iron and increases the titanium content of the mineral grains. Although it is not a recognised mineral species, the name leucoxene has been applied to products with a Ti02 titanium content ranging from 70% to 93%.
Leucoxene is the major constituent of MZI’s Keysbrook deposit. The material from Keysbrook is a high quality leucoxene product and once in operation, the Keysbrook project will be the single biggest producer of leucoxene in the world.
Leucoxene is either sold for use in welding electrodes which is a relatively small market or as one of several feedstocks for titanium pigment plants. In the welding applications, the product is used as a fluxing agent in the welding electrodes which are used extensively in shipbuilding and civil engineering. The key producing countries for leucoxene are Australia, South Africa and the USA. Most leucoxene is shipped to the USA as feedstock for pigment feedstock. However, China is emerging as a potentially large market for leucoxene given growing demand for high quality coatings.
The majority of the leucoxene produced at MZI’s Keysbrook project is expected to be sold as a feed for pigment production. Leucoxene is attractive to titanium dioxide producers as it can be used as a substitute for rutile in chloride pigment production.